"Follow Your Heart, but take Your Brain with You"
As a prison wife, fiancé or girlfriend, society has already labeled us as being a certain type of woman. Society’s perception of a woman who is involved with an incarcerated man is one of disdain. We are viewed as having low self-esteem, being uneducated, receiving county benefits, being a bad mother and last but certainly not least, we are desperate for a man. We are treated as if we committed a crime because we chose to love a man “behind the wall”. Our relationship is not only judged by society, but it is judged by family, friends, colleagues and even our church family. This journey that we have decided to take is not an easy one. In fact, it will probably be one of the most difficult journeys that we will ever take in our life because we will do a great deal of sacrificing and compromising in our relationship, if we are “Ten Toes In”.
Is Your Mate An Asset or a Liability?
Relationships in general require honesty, trust, loyalty, communication, understanding, compromise and sacrifice. A prison relationship requires all of these things to the 20th power because your partner lives in a world that is fueled with negativity. As his woman, you are his Sunshine, his hope, his encouragement and his connection to the outside world. An ASSET enhances your life and a LIABILITY takes away from your life. What role does your partner play in your life, an Asset or Liability?
My partner reminds me every day to never take your freedom for granted. We put God first because nothing is impossible when we pray to God. We develop patience for one another to go through this journey. Our relationship has lasted this long because we make sure that we say a prayer for the last 3 minutes on the phone as well as share scriptures in our letters. We encourage each other with focusing on our goals as a couple .
Is Your Mate A Liability?
When you are in a prison relationship, you are already facing a great deal of limitations. You can’t see or speak to your guy when you want to. When you travel to see him, you are limited to one kiss in the beginning of the visit and one kiss at the end of the visit. Your phone calls are limited to 15 minutes and they are recorded. So, if you and your mate have something to speak about that was really important, it becomes very frustrating to do it in a very limited timeframe. Your physical interaction is sacrificed because everything you do is monitored. You do not have your man with you physically on a daily basis. Also, in most cases, he is not able to provide for you and he is restricted to how and when he can support and motivate you. He can’t accompany you to your friend’s wedding or your family member’s funeral. He can’t take you on a date night and he can’t attend your child’s graduation or wipe your tears away when tragedy has occurrs in your life.
Now with all that said, it can be very expensive to be a “Ten Toes In” prison wife, fiancé or girlfriend. Global Tel Link makes a fortune on the phone calls that you receive from your guy. Most women who love their men, want to talk to them as much as possible. These phone calls keep couples connected. However, the more you talk, the more expensive your bill becomes. Of course, your guy is going to need and want quarterly packages. He needs items to survive in prison to make his time easier. So, being the woman that you are, you want to do whatever it takes to make sure he has what he needs. This is a bill. Most likely, he will need money or his books. This money is used for canteen items, such as food, toiletries, etc. Again, as his woman, you are trying to put a smile on his face and take care of his wants and needs. Now, it is time for you and your man to spend some quality time with each other. He wants you to visit him and you definitely want to see him. So, now you are going to put miles on your car to visit him. This is an additional bill for gas or if you decide to take the bus it may cost at least $60.00. Also, you may decide to rent a car, another bill. Few women have the luxury of living near the prison where their significant other is housed. Once you arrive to the prison, most likely, you and your guy are going to want to share a meal together. Typically, you will spend between $20.00 to $50.00, depending on what you want from the vending machine…another bill.
Now to add to the list of growing liabilities, your mate is possessive, he wants to monitor everything you do and who you socialize with in your life. When you do not answer his call, he is upset and becomes verbally abusive or makes you feel guilty. Maybe one day during your visit, he asks you that dreaded question, “can you bring drugs or a cell phone to him on your next visit”? He tells you that he did not want to ask you but he is in a bind and this will help you and him financially. Finally, one day your guy calls you and your conversation is different. You can’t pin point why it is different, you just know that is it. So, you confirm that you will be visiting him the upcoming weekend. But he tells you that he is either working a new schedule or taking a special class and he does not have visits this weekend or the next few weekends. After these sudden changes, you start waking up in the middle of the night with a queasy feeling in your stomach. Throughout the day, you feel like you are walking on eggshells. You do not understand why you feel this way but you know that it is real. If you know the heart of your man and how he is wired, you will recognize when he steps out of character. So, you may have the courage to ask him the infamous question, “are you talking to or seeing another woman”? He responds, “No, you are my Baby and the only woman for me”. When he answers your question, it does not sit right with your spirit, so you decide to do a surprise visit to the prison. When you walk into the visiting room, you find your soul mate, the love of your life cuddled up with another woman. At that very moment, your world falls apart…
What do you do when your Mate becomes a Liability?
Only you as his woman can answer that question. You know what you have invested in your man and your relationship. Therefore, you know what you deserve as a “Ten Toes In” woman.
If your guy does not give you a hard time about not coming to see him because he knows you can’t afford it, he is an ASSET. If your man motivates and encourages you every chance he can, he is an ASSET . If he makes you feel that you that you are the only one on EARTH, he is an ASSET. If your man has integrity and his actions matches his words, he is an ASSET. If your partner is constantly trying to figure out ways to provide for you (like starting a legitimate business behind the wall or asking family and friends to help you, NOT him, financially), he is an ASSET. If he is honestly communicating his emotions, challenges, dreams and failures to you, he is an ASSET. If he truly listens to you regarding your feelings, goals, challenges, aspirations and storms, he is an ASSET. If he genuinely wants to better himself and engage in self improvement classes or earn a GED or college diploma, he is an ASSET. If he encourages you to go out with friends and family and enjoy your life, he is an ASSET. If your guy is consistently respectful and a gentleman toward you, he is an ASSET. If he is honestly concerned about your kids, whether they are his biologically or not, he is an ASSET. Last but certainly not least, if he is “Ten Toes In” with you and your relationship (no other women or men) and he is totally honest, loyal, grateful and committed to you and only you, he is not only an Asset, but he is a KEEPER.
Thank you for the insight! I have been married to my husband 22.5 years. He’s been locked up all this time. We married on the outside and was together 5 months then he was gone!
We’re still together; it’s actually very good now! I don’t have anyone to talk to about this because no one could possibly understand the journey in my circle…. This is a jewel to me ❤️
Reading your blog just confirmed that I definitely have a keeper. It is so much easier being ten toes in with a partner who is an asset and it seems so easy when you both love each other and live through God.
In 1997, the ball was completely dropped & the criminal justice system horribly failed one young man, Mr. Wajuba Z.Z. McDuffy. He was given a JLWOP (Juvenile Life Without Parole) sentence for a crime he DIDN’T PLAN, WASN’T THERE for, DIDN’T COMMIT & had NO KNOWLEDGE of! There’s more than enough of our young brothas & sistas caught up in the system. Whether it be via Dept. of Corrections or Children’s Protective Services. Stop for a minute & ask yourself this question: “How many times have I or others rallied around friends & loved 1’s that we KNOW FOR A FACT did something wrong yet was still wishing they were home?!” Now ask yourself this question: “When will we ALL start taking a stand & speaking up for those who are truly INNOCENT?!” …WELL THE TIME IS NOW!!! We’re DEMANDING that the COMPTON COURT, the STATE of CALIFORNIA, & CALIFORNIA DEPT. of CORRECTIONS and REHABILITATION exonerates, releases. & REMOVES HIS NAME OFF OF http://www.teenkillers.org/ IMMEDIATELY!!! FOR IT DOES NOT BELONG ON THERE!!!!
I appreciate being to share our story in a supportive forum of this nature. In August of 2008 I submitted my husband’s application to the Nor*Cal Innocence Project & founded the *OPERATION FREE BIXX-FREE WAJUBA ALLIANCE*. The Innocence Project accepted him as a client in mid-2009. It’s been a hard, long tedious road but his legal team has been working diligently on his behalf. Last year when the JLWOP law changed I requested help from the juvenile justice dept. at Loyola University. Within a couple weeks of reviewing the app I emailed to them, they too accepted him as a client. Both of these organizations have now parterned up, formed 2 sets of legal teams & immediately began pounding the pavement of SoCal this whole past year to rebuild his case. The reason for the 2 separate teams is to give him the absolute best chance at coming home. The hope is to get him the resentenced for time served so he can fight his exoneration case w/Nor*Cal Innocence Project on the streets.
On May 13, 2015 my husband graduated from the Men For Honor Program ( Helping Y.O.U.T.H.) in CSP-LAC (Lancaster). Since, family/friends weren’t allowed to attend this particular achievement in his life the lead attorney for his resentencing case said she would be sure to attend & represent on the family’s behalf. This is where he learned about the info for this site. Despite being proud of Wajuba & his newfound accomplishment, she also had a couple of great surprises to tell him. The DA of the Compton Court has decided to concede after reviewing all the new evidence submitted to him by both legal teams & will not go against/fight the motion for him to be resentenced to time served! On May 27th we’ll all be going to the courthouse to request/receive a formal resentencing date, which, we’re hoping we can arrange to have heard on June 17th, Wajuba’s 37th bearthday & the 19 year anniversary of when this crime was actually committed by another perpetrator. She also expressed to him that he will have a job as soon as he’s released because she’ll be hiring him to work for her & help run an at-risk youth mentoring program, much like he does in the Helping Y.O.U.TH. program at Lancaster Prison.
I also see that there’s a seminar planned for July 30th & I will be trying my hardest to be in attendance as I do live further North here in Sacramento, California.
Thank u Ms. Darlene for creating this platform for those of us who’re are truly committed to this life.
If you would like to learn more about my husband’s journey to exoneration please click or go to this link——>>>>> http://www.blog.criminalu.co/tag/wajuba-mcduffy/
Last night my husband and myself, returned to Ten Toes In. We had not been in contact for a long while with Darlene. What a refreshing of the soul. To have been there at the Ten Toes In meeting last night 7/26/18. The people who came had such an awesome spirit upon them. The ones who spoke last night were an inspiration and uplifting not only to myself and my husband but to all whom were there. So my brother and sister, from me to you, you can become inspired and alive again no matter what you maybe going through. Ten Toes In will help heal and direct you. But first you must seek and ye will find. (MATT.6:33) GOD BE WITH YOU, My friend.
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